Being active when living within a large body: experiences during lifestyle intervention

Bente Skovsby Toft, Kathleen T Galvin, Claus Vinther Nielsen, Lisbeth Uhrenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: In-depth understanding of the experiences of both well-being and suffering in relation to being severely obese and becoming active through lifestyle intervention is lacking.

Aim: to explore and describe adults’ existential experiences of being active, when living within a large body—before and during a lifestyle intervention.

Methods: A longitudinal design of repeated individual interviews with 16 adults with BMI ≥40, based on hermeneutic phenomenology, existential philosophy and a theory of well-being was performed. The study was approved by the Danish health authorities.

Results: Two dimensions of experiences were found; “Living within a downward spiral” and “Striving for enjoyment and settlement”. The themes describing suffering were: ‘Sense of being thwarted and defeated ‘ and “Tackling energy depletion and impact of sense of self”. The themes describing well-being were: “Hoping for renewal and energised resoluteness” and “Enduring discomfort and feeling safe”.

Conclusions: Interacting existential experiences can be facilitators or barriers for physical activity. It seems relevant for health care providers to address the individual’s lifeworld experiences of well-being, lack of well-being and suffering. Well-being as a sense of feeling “at home” when physically active may break down an inactivity spiral. Promoting well-being is a legitimate aim of lifestyle intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1736769
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • Adults
  • experience
  • hermeneutics
  • life style
  • lifeworld
  • obesity
  • physical activity
  • qualitative study
  • well-being

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